Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Bilingualism in Hellenistic Egypt
(2,854 words)


A great number of texts written on papyri, ostraca and stone prove that two languages, Greek and Egyptian, were used in various ways in Hellenistic Egyptian society. The surviving written evidence illuminates bilingualism, but only sporadically. Some letters show us directly that the letter writer was bilingual in Greek and Egyptian, but additional work is required for the study of possible signs of bilingualism, through personal names, the context formed by archives, and the linguistic features of the texts themselves.

The term bi…

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Marja Vierros, “Bilingualism in Hellenistic Egypt”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 26 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_COM_00000047>
First published online: 2013

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